The 16-year-old driver was caught off-guard as the pick-up truck was flipped, but luckily he only suffered minor bruises.
A stunning video from Texas showed a red pickup truck being flipped by a tornado and left spinning on its side in the middle of an empty highway. The truck was driven by a teenager, Riley Leon, reported Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Luckily for the 16-year-old driver, the truck flipped back onto its wheels enabling him to drive away and escape the tornado. Leon reportedly only suffered a cut on his arm. "I’m thankful to God for giving me another chance in this world,” Leon told Good Morning America. It was a storm chaser, Brian Emfinger, who managed to capture the footage of the incident.
“He probably left me here because I have something special coming my way,” said Leon. "Out of nowhere the tornado came in and it caught me. I knew there was going to be bad weather but I never expected the tornado to be at the same moment I was at. There was a ditch and it took me there and then it took me out to the street and that’s when I was spinning with the truck.” Leon said he wasn't scared but shocked when it happened. "I didn’t feeling nothing because it was like in a blink of an eye.”
You might have seen the wild video of a red Chevy truck being flipped around and landing right side up during Monday’s Tornado in Elgin.— Daranesha Herron (@Daraneshatv) March 23, 2022
Well, this is Riley, the teen driving the truck!
He said today was an interesting first day back at school. 😂😂 @KVUE pic.twitter.com/vjimzufuTg
Emfinger actually realized they had captured the truck being flipped only much later. After initially posting a longer clip, they cut it to highlight the incident in a second post. "Omg… just going through my video. This is a story about a red truck and a tornado…. I CANNOT believe they drove away like that," they captioned the video. The National Weather Service classified the Elgin tornado as an EF2 with winds of 130 mph and a track length of 14 miles.
One local storm chaser confirmed that the teenager only suffered minor bruises from the incident. They had also lent their phone to the teenager so he could contact the boy's parents after the close shave. Storm chaser Marcus Reynolds said the storm was the fourth-strongest level of tornado. The 130-mph winds managed to flip the pick-up truck weighing 2.5 tons on its side before spinning it 360 degrees before finally flipping it back onto its wheels within a harrowing 10 seconds.
Brian Emfinger's footage went viral online, garnering more than 6.7 million views and 91k likes. The video shows Emfinger's vehicle driving beside the highway on which the teen was driving. A longer version of the footage shows the tornado materializing and crossing the road in front of him. It is at this point that it tips the red pickup truck over before spinning it back to its wheels. The video shows flashes from power lines as well. The incident happened too fast for Leon to worry about himself but once he got out of the truck, he was concerned about his truck. “It hit that I lost something I treasured in life,” he said. “A lot of scratches and a lot of dents," said Leon before adding that he wanted to fix the truck or even buy a new one. "I put a lot of effort in showing my parents that I could take care of something.”
Riley said two dealerships have reached out to him but he has not decided on anything yet.— Daranesha Herron (@Daraneshatv) March 24, 2022
He was so nonchalant about his truck being flipped by the tornado but he is thankful to be alive. pic.twitter.com/VecsRr9YyQ
Elgin some parts of central Texas suffered from multiple tornado strikes causing power outages and damage to more than 65 homes. More than 75 percent of Elgin was without power through the night as a result of the storm. Local Judge Paul Pape issued a Disaster Declaration Order for the area.
Brian Emfinger has been chasing and capturing extreme weather for more than 20 years. You can catch his work here.